Dean Agrees to Join Council

After a month of speculation about his whereabouts and numerous statements criticizing the formation of the Constitution Council, its oldest member has now asked to be sworn into the supreme appeals body.

National Radio announced Thursday that 93-year-old council dean Chau Sen Cocsal Chhum had requested to be sworn in at Saturday’s Royal Palace ceremony alongside Say Bory, who re­places resigning royal ap­pointee Pung Peng Cheng.

Chau Sen Cocsal Chhum confirmed Thursday that he had asked palace minister Kong Som Ol to be included in the ceremony, to take place in the palace throne room at 4:30 pm Saturday.

But he would not elaborate on his change of heart from a month ago, when he failed to turned up for the original ceremony.

A statement bearing his name announced he had left the country.

And he denied having discussed the matter with King Norodom Sihanouk, who appointed him to the council and is said to have been frustrated by the hold-ups in its convening caused by boycotting royal appointees.

Chau Sen Cocsal Chhum also de­nied that he had left the country in the past month, or that he had written any statements challenging the legality of the council.

“I never did anything before, like statements about the functioning of the council,” he said.

Statements bearing Chau Sen Cocsal Chhum’s signature previously announced that he was boycotting the council indefinitely. He had said he would reconsider his stance when he believed all its members had been appointed by the proper legal procedure.

Cambodian Bar Association president Say Bory was appointed to the council by the King following the recent resignation of another royal appointee, Pung Peng Cheng.

Prior to his appointment Say Bory was a vocal critic of the council, which he had branded illegal. His main gripe has been against several members of the council who he believed did not have the required qualifications for the post. But on his appointment, Say Bory vowed to address his concerns about the council as a member of the council, rather than as an outsider.


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